Understanding the amplitudes of noise correlation measurements

Journal of Geophysical Research



Cross correlation of ambient seismic noise is known to result in time series from which station-station travel-time measurements can be made. Part of the reason that these cross-correlation travel-time measurements are reliable is that there exists a theoretical framework that quantifies how these travel times depend on the features of the ambient noise. However, corresponding theoretical results do not currently exist to describe how the amplitudes of the cross correlation depend on such features. For example, currently it is not possible to take a given distribution of noise sources and calculate the cross correlation amplitudes one would expect from such a distribution. Here, we provide a ray-theoretical framework for calculating cross correlations. This framework differs from previous work in that it explicitly accounts for attenuation as well as the spatial distribution of sources and therefore can address the issue of quantifying amplitudes in noise correlation measurements. After introducing the general framework, we apply it to two specific problems. First, we show that we can quantify the amplitudes of coherency measurements, and find that the decay of coherency with station-station spacing depends crucially on the distribution of noise sources. We suggest that researchers interested in performing attenuation measurements from noise coherency should first determine how the dominant sources of noise are distributed. Second, we show that we can quantify the signal-to-noise ratio of noise correlations more precisely than previous work, and that these signal-to-noise ratios can be estimated for given situations prior to the deployment of seismometers. It is expected that there are applications of the theoretical framework beyond the two specific cases considered, but these applications await future work.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Understanding the amplitudes of noise correlation measurements
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research
DOI 10.1029/2011JB008483
Volume 116
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 16 p.; B09311
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Geophysical Research